Here, deep in the bowels of Casa Bevboy, there is a room to which I have the only key. Therein, upon one wall, is a map depicting all of the radio stations in Halifax. There are stick pins on each station, and red strings are wrapped around them and joining the pins. I update the configuration whenever an on air person comes or goes, or when a station changes format. That kind of thing.
I have been very busy the last few days. I am running out of red string.
Today, Chris Lawrence and Lisa Paterson were shown the door, dismissed, let go, fired, given the old heave ho. Lisa had been at the station since it went on the air in 2009; Chris had been there less than a year, having been wooed to Lite 92.9 away from competitor Energy 103.5.
Let's examine this in more detail.
Griff Henderson was offered a position at The Wave several weeks ago and turned it down, even though he has a family and he's been off work for some six months since KOOL FM went bye-bye. Why would he do that? Could it be because he had another iron on the fire?
I speculated that the offer would not be one as the new co-host at Live 105. I stand by my supposition that it will be a part-timer at Newcap (with one caveat; see below). I am starting to think that Griff has been offered a position at Lite 92.9, one that commences in time for ratings, which is March 1st.
Why fire both Chris and Lisa? Could it be that the path is being paved for the return of both Griff and... Caroline?
It is no secret that the Lite format is not very successful. If you take all the stations in the market and express their playlists as an admittedly complex Venn diagram, you would see no station save perhaps News 95.7 has a playlist that is exclusive to this market. That is to say, every station plays songs that are played on at least one other station. In some cases, the overlap is huge. I like me David Myles, but when I can hear his songs on Lite, on Radio 965, on C100, on CBC Radio One and Two, on The Bounce (in the case of "Inner Ninja"), then there is a problem somewhere. Serena Ryder is awesome, but "Stompa" is played on Live 105, Lite 92.9, C100, Radio 965, and CBC. There are many more examples. You get my drift.
I think that Lite 92.9 as a light rock station, is toast. If they do hire Griff and Caroline to come back to the airwaves, then the format will become something else, something that fans of Griff and Caroline are used to.
I hate to say it, as I think the format is pretty much played out, but I think Lite 92.9 will become something akin to the old KOOL FM, which is to say, a classic hits type format. Since we already have the Wave, I don't know what that will mean in terms of what will shake out. Which station will be the more successful? And what effect will this have on the content at Q104, which plays some of that old KOOL FM music and has had its morning show spoken word content toned down to the point where they can no longer say "shit" or "ass". They no longer say "blah blah blah, blah blah. Jesus Jumping Christ" at the end of the morning rant lines, either.
Another possibility is that Lite 92.9 will become a Country station. Highly unlikely. There is no other market in the nation that has two FM Country stations. Doesn't mean there's a law saying this can't happen, but I have my doubts.
There is also the KISS format that Rogers has. It is a Hot AC format, similar to The Bounce and Energy 103 and parts of C100. Once again, I don't see what the upside of that is.
I therefore stand by my contention that Lite 92.9 becomes a Classic Hits-ish station as of March 1st.
I'm not that happy about this. All things being equal, if you can hear many of the songs you like on multiple stations, what is the incentive to check out another station at all? If you love The Breakfast Club (and who doesn't?), and there is much music on another station that's played on C100, then why bother checking out that other station?
In my inestimable opinion, if any station wants to be successful, it should at least consider the possibility of trying something different enough that the Venn diagram I discussed above has much less overlap with all the other stations in Halifax. It likely can't or won't happen, but it is something I wish PD's and MD's would think about before it cannibalizes the content at another station.
Now, my caveat about the new co-host on Live. Chris Lawrence, who worked at Evanov as recently as 2013, is now at loose ends. I wonder if he would want to become the co-host with Floyd on Live 105, with Floyd getting top billing. Hard to say. A radio job is a radio job. If it were me, I would take such a job, knowing that it is not emasculating or anything to work with a woman. Since the news about Chris Lawrence is so recent, it is hard to say whether they will reach out to him in the next day or three. I have my doubts.
What are your thoughts? Will Lite 92.9 go away? Who will be on the morning show of whatever the station becomes? And where will Chris Lawrence and Lisa Blackburn end up? You know how to contact me, folks! Please do so.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go to Fabricville and get some red string.
See you tomorrow.